WWE has long prided itself on having lineups with a diverse range of talent. The Undertaker was without a doubt one of the most distinctive performers of the bunch. Understandably, not everyone can win every time, and falling short of booking expectations might leave a group of workers disappointed.
Over the years, we’ve heard a number of stories of wrestlers who refuse to lose contests. During a recent episode of Grilling JR, Jim Ross examined the subject in depth, focusing on King of the Ring 1996, where The Undertaker met Mick Foley.
As we previously reported, Big Van Vader was on the verge of being sacked from the WWE owing to his unwillingness to work. Vader refused to drop a bout to The Ultimate Warrior at a Rosemont house event in 1996 in order to maintain his monster heel image, which was a moneymaker in Japan.
At the time, Vader wasn’t the only celebrity who was shielded by the WWE, as Jim Ross cited other examples of the company’s reluctance to schedule superstars to lose.
When The Undertaker was defeated by Mick Foley at the 1996 KOTR show, he had a different vision than most of his generation.
Mick Foley was a newcomer who was brought in just to fight The Undertaker. The Deadman, according to Jim Ross, intended to demonstrate the roster how to suffer a loss in order to illustrate a point.
Mick Foley’s choice to go over the Undertaker that night proved to be a brilliant move by WWE. It was the start of one of the most historic feuds in wrestling history.
The historic rivalry between Foley and ‘Taker began with King of the Ring 1996, and the surprising upset got the angle off to a good start.
“I find it comical and perplexing that we can beat Undertaker, but we can’t beat Vader, we can’t get Ahmed, you know, there are so many men protected, and I believe ‘Taker was probably one of those guys that wondered, ‘What the hell are we doing?’ Is it true that no one can lose? I’ll demonstrate how to lose. And it was successful. As you mentioned, it started a pretty good program that lasted a long period “JR remarked.
The Undertaker needed new dancing partners: Jim Ross
The Undertaker was quick to realize the potential in a long-term feud with Foley as the Harcore Legend had all the traits to be The Phenom’s ideal dance partner
“The problem is, Undertaker knew exactly where his bread was buttered. He’d known he’d have a potentially fantastic opponent for a long time and a new opponent, which is why we hired Mick in the first place. The Undertaker was in desperate need of new dance partners “Ross continued.
Jim Ross also emphasized why every wrestling organization needed to keep a good mix of victories and losses when it came to a wrestler’s record. Many wrestlers in the 1990s, according to the veteran commentator, didn’t want clean losses and instead pushed for DQ and count-out endings.
“Not just Leon (Vader) overthought things; the Japanese did an excellent job of convincing them that “don’t do jobs, don’t do too many jobs” was a good idea. DQs, count-outs, and all of that. So, I merely argue that it isn’t always in the best interests of the organization. Here, we need winners and losers. So, if you can’t lose, how can we justify putting you out there to beat up on everyone even if you don’t return the favor? Things didn’t make sense, so that’s where we ended up “JR expressed himself.
The Undertaker was a true businessman who realized the advantages of losing to Mick Foley in the long run. In hindsight, WWE and the luminaries engaged throughout the decision-making process couldn’t have asked for a better ending.